Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tiddlywinks- "Siimplified"

I was sitting at my desk in back yesterday and heard riotous laughter coming from the front. After awhile I had to investigate - didn't want to miss out on any really good jokes. Nancy and Julia were reading something, helpless with laughter. What was it? It was - the densely written (in small print), four page pamphlet titled "The Rules of Tiddlywinks as Approved by the English Tiddlywinks Association." Under that impressive title was "Simplified Rules, " and some of the subsections: The Winks and the Squidger, Squopping, Potting Out, and Foul Shots and Foul Play. And, the British are obviously serious about tiddlywinks - just in case 4 pages of instructions wasn't enough, the fourth page ended with the following: Further information is available from the English Tiddlywinks Association. Contact House of Marbles for their address. Our take: by the time you understand the rules, the players have lost interest. But you can always play the old fashioned American way - the player who gets the most tiddlywinks into the cup wins. Feel free to ask us to see these instructions - they're pretty funny!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boston Gift Show

I went to the Boston Gift Show yesterday. Twenty years ago it was a thriving show, but it has been shrinking every year until now, it's only a shadow of what it once was. A show that used to take me a day to walk through - I can easily do in three hours. And that's stopping to chat with people I know but don't need to order from because I've already seen them at the big New York Show. Paradoxically, just as the show was really struggling, it moved to the gigantic new Boston Convention Center, where it takes up an infinitesimal sliver of the spacious modern building. So, I wasn't sure if I should even bother going - I had a lot of other things to do. I was sure it would be a waste of time. BUT - I went, and I found a few little vendors, people who would never do a big show - and thus found a few items that I never would have found. And reminded myself that you never know what you will find anywhere. Just one new thing can make a whole show worthwhile - though if I had had to pay for travel and a hotel and food . . . a whole different story.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Haz Sprung !!

It's the first day of spring! Yesterday, we took the winter pinecones and twigs out of our little front "garden" spot, and behold, there were daffodils and tulips starting to poke up. We added pansies, and instant spring. Then, we did our window, using our favorite giant bunny blowup poster. A detail is below, to see the whole thing, walk on by.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

I ordered these cool clocks - they run on . . water! And they are also alarm clocks. Nice, simple, somewhat elegant design. They arrived, and on each box was an incredibly cheesy and embarrassing (to me anyway) picture of a girl. Why?? Now I have to figure out a way to cover that part of the box so that if say, a mom wants to buy it for her son, or an aunt wants to buy it for her nephew, or a girl wants to buy it for her boyfriend - the box won't be a deal breaker ! See below and pick any picture - would you want to see this on a box displayed at Joie de Vivre? Sorry, but I don't think so. Or, in the immortal words of a favorite website of mine: FAIL !

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Silly Question of the Day

A customer just brought a couple of note cards to the desk and asked me how much they were. Me: "2.50" Customer: "Each?" I was SO tempted to say, "no, 2.50 for all the cards you want!" but I managed to refrain, and just said "yes." It reminded me of the customer who brought two postcards up to the desk (75 cents apiece at the time) and asked if there was a discount if he bought two. !!

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Embarrassing Story . . .

My sister just sent me a link to a website called Chatham Pottery, asking "is this your friend?" I took a look, and yes, it's the very same person who made the mug I have been drinking coffee out of every day for over 30 years. And it reminded me of a story. I used to go and visit him, pick up pottery for the gallery I was running and we became friends. One night we went to eat dinner at Gasho, a Japanese restaurant in upstate New York. It was very authentic and a very "in" place. One of its claims to fame: it had been shipped over from Japan in pieces and reassembled without using one nail. They cooked the food right at your table, novel at that time. And, they served hot sake, a beverage I was unfamiliar with. I liked it. We shared more than one bottle of sake, and toward the end of the meal, I picked up a little white bowl. I was struck with how beautifully made it was. All part of that amazing Japanese aesthetic and attention to every little detail. I mentioned this to my friend. He stared at me and started to laugh. "How much will you pay me not to tell anyone you said that?" he asked. I looked at the bowl a little more closely, with a little more focus. It was plastic. And me - a buyer for a well respected craft gallery, taking it for porcelain. I was mortified. I don't remember what deal we came to, maybe I bought dinner, but I did secure his word that he would never tell. I hadn't thought of that story for a long time. I think a surprise visit to Chatham Pottery might be in order!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is Happiness?

Let's see . . . Charles Schultz said "Happiness is a Warm Puppy," and John Lennon famously sang "Happiness is a Warm Gun." What do we say here at Joie de Vivre? Happiness is . . . a silly space gun that lights up and makes noise. I was at the Toy Fair when I spied it. I picked it up and pulled the trigger. Lights, and when the trigger was released, a very satisfying sound. It was hard to stop doing it, but I wondered if I should order it - it was a gun of sorts, after all. And Joie de Vivre is in Cambridge, Mass., a city not known for tolerance of any kind of war or violence. But order them I did. The day they came in, I wondered if I'd done the right thing. I brought one out front and lo and behold, there was what I consider to be a quintessential older Cambridge couple shopping. I made a general announcement that we had a new and decidedly un P.C. item, and pulled the trigger, wondering what these folks might say. They laughed and bought three of them. Yay! It might offend someone . . . but that little space gun is a lot of fun.